User-generated content (USG) is an excellent strategy for gaining exposure for your brand while showcasing content from your customers. USG is more than just customer reviews; innovative marketing teams are finding ways to leverage user content effectively to build a bigger brand, generate sales leads, and increase sales.
We’ll explore UGC and its benefits and share how to build an engaging marketing plan and sales process that incorporates user content.
User-generated content is authentic content customers generate about a specific brand. It can stem from an encouraging, inspiring and empowering call-to-action framework the brand sets up to raise interest and generate sales.
While positive customer reviews are the most well-known form of user content, UGC goes further. UGC incorporates unsponsored, brand-specific social media posts and online platform content with images, text, audio, discussions and more.
Content marketing – creating and distributing online content to a targeted audience – has become a critical customer communication element in marketing. Technology has fueled massive changes in the way customers consume and engage with content, making UGC a powerful content marketing tool for brand recognition, trust and increased sales.
UGC is a powerful tool when used effectively as part of a holistic omnichannel marketing strategy. Some brands are wary of UGC because consumers hold power over the actual content generated. However, with the right strategy and framework, UGC can massively benefit brands and make content marketing seamless.
Research shows the following UGC benefits:
UGC is about consumer trust. Communities have always shared stories and experiences. Technology has broadened the scope of experience-sharing with online platforms that allow consumers to share their experiences and help others make better decisions about products and services.
UGC is a tech version of word-of-mouth advertising. Word-of-mouth advertising is already a powerful marketing tool for any business because people tend to trust other people’s authentic experiences. These experiences resonate because the people sharing them have nothing to gain; consumers can gain a real glimpse into the product or service.
Brands can share messages about their products or services, but when someone else spreads that same message, peers, friends, family, colleagues and even strangers are more likely to listen to and trust the message.
Online reviews are a UGC element many of us encounter daily. You may seek user reviews when researching a vacation or purchasing an item from an online retailer. Each step of the customer journey is transparent, whether that involves products, services, packaging, delivery, or something else. Other UGC forms that consumers listen to and trust include social media posts, peer reviews, testimonials, video content, blog posts, and Q&A sessions.
Statistics from the 2022 State of User-Generated Content report illustrate just how much consumers trust and engage with UGC:
It’s clear that to gain consumer trust, retain customers, and attract new business, it’s crucial to get people outside your organization creating and sharing content about your brand.
Use customer reviews to help your business grow. Ask happy customers for reviews and referrals soon after their positive experience with your brand.
To build UGC into your business and encourage UGC participation, your brand must engage customers at every level of the sales funnel. These are the sales funnel’s four elements:
You’ll grow USG in the first two stages:
In the next two stages, UGC’s full potential can expand:
To improve your online business’s reputation and encourage UGC, maintain high-quality content on your website and social channels, engage with social media influencers, and ensure an optimal customer experience.
With online and social media platforms, there are numerous ways for companies to showcase user-generated content. Social media sites are excellent places to engage consumers because many of your customers spend time on these platforms.
Here are some ideas:
Work with your marketing team to design and implement the right UGC campaign for your organization.